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*Dec 15, 2018*
MDOT Report Justifying Beltway Toll Lanes Blames Carpools for $47 Tolls on I-66!

A December 11 report from MDOT turns upside down the environmental argument for toll lanes – that they create a financial incentive for carpooling.

The Presolicitation Information Report MDOT sent to the Board of Public Works provides some new details on its $11 billion plan to widen I-495 and I-270 for privatized for-profit toll lanes, like the ones on I-66 in Northern Virginia. The Board of Public Works has authority over large public project expenditures.

Although traffic research consistently shows cars with one person worsen congestion, MDOT praises the I-66 toll lanes for letting lone drivers buy their way back onto the road during rush hour. One person vehicles had been banned to reduce congestion.

Then MDOT goes one step further and blames carpools for I-66's soaring rush tolls, which can top $47! To encourage carpooling, cars with two or more passengers can use the toll lanes for free during rush hour. MDOT, however, suggests that leads for-profit toll operators to raise tolls to compensate. (See P.8 of the report.)

MDOT’s opinion is out of sync with most research and the widely accepted strategy to manage congestion by creating incentives that encourage carpooling and using mass transit.

All of which raises the question about what the Beltway Toll Lanes are supposed to do? Reduce congestion or help a company build exclusive lanes for lone drivers under the guise of helping the general public?

Click here for a copy of MDOT's December 11 report or visit CABE's on-line resource page at

More MDOT Report Highlights: Higher Price Tag,
Less Public Review, State Financing

Here are a few more key  take-aways from the Dec 11 MDOT report.
  • $11 Billion Price Tag. MDOT increased its top estimate for I-495/I-270 tollways to $11 billion, up from $9 billion for widening those roads and the B-W Parkway. (p.9)
  • MDOT plans to pick a preferred design by spring 2019. This leaves little time for public comment on the short list of design Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study MDOT is expected to release by early Feb. (p.5)
  • MD plans to help finance the toll lanes by issuing transportation (MDTA) bonds, (p.12), own the lanes, and pay the toll company when unspecified "compensation events" occur (p.17). Only toll revenues can be used to repay the bonds, the report says, but it’s not clear what happens if tolls fall short.
  • Toll collections could start as early as 2025, five years after 2020, when MDOT expects to sign an agreement with a toll lane company.
  • Toll lane developers want MD to pay them for submitting unsuccessful bids, according to an MDOT survey, with 54% asking for $1 million to $3 million.
  • MDOT says I-66 toll lanes work, paying for themselves despite  Washington Post articles casting doubt on whether commutes are getting better for most people, and financial reports from toll operator Transurban that say the I-66 lanes aren't making money.
Upcoming Events

Dec 16 Virtual Townhall with Del-Elect Vaughn Stewart

Delegate-elect Vaughn Stewart (Dist 19) hosts a virtual town hall meeting on Facebook with Delegate David Moon (Dist 20) to discuss local bills, including MC 8-19 which would require Montgomery County to consent to toll roads.
When: Sunday, Dec 16 at 8 pm.

CABE to Testify at Dec 17 Lexus Lane Bill Hearing
Reminder: CABE will be testifying on Monday December 17 in support of MC 8-19 a bill introduced by Delegate Al Carr (D-Kensington) that would prohibit Maryland from building "any toll road, toll highway or toll bridge" in Montgomery County without the county's authorization through local law.

When: Monday, Dec 17, 2018, Starting at 7 pm
Where: Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD

We strongly encourage you and your civic associations to make your voices heard by testifying (sign-up here) or coming by. (Protest signs up to 8-1/2" x 11" are allowed.)
Support CABE: Buy a Yard Sign

CABE has just received a shipment of new yard signs, which can be ordered for $10. Click here or order from

CABE depends on small donations.  Any amount  -- $5, $10, $25 -- will help fund outreach, flyers, yard signs and popular advocacy for better transportation choices without widening I-495 for Lexus Lanes.
Spread the word.

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Citizens Against Beltway Expansion

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Citizens Against Beltway Expansion · PO Box 3593 · Silver Spring, MD 20918-3593 · USA

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